I did not make this headline up
... that University of Michigan freshman Devin Gardner compiled 3,287 yards of total offense as a high school junior and was ranked as the top quarterback prospect in the United States in 2009?
If we don't get freep love, I'll settle for Wikipedia
Should Devin Gardner take a redshirt or play in his freshman year? The answer to this question depends upon how much impact you think he might have in 2010, versus how badly we will want him to play in 2014 as a fifth year senior instead of a new starter. We don’t know what he will do in college and we most certainly don’t know what he will be like five years from now. However, one thing that we can do is look historically at the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Michigan football team in the years where they have had a fifth year senior quarterback at the helm. This represents a hypothetical 2014 for a Devin Gardner led team. Then, we can compare those results to the years where Michigan has had a new starting quarterback. This represents a hypothetical 2014 for a Michigan if Gardner leaves after the ‘13 season.
Let’s look at fifth year senior QBs in the last 30 years against our two biggest rivals, and the bowl game results.
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Let’s tally up those results, shall we? In the last 30 years, we are a combined 13-2-1 vs. MSU and OSU when we have a fifth year senior starting at quarterback. In those eight seasons, we made a BCS bowl game all but once, and we have won four of those (for those of you in Columbus – that means we won a BCS Bowl game 50% of the time). Yes, yes, I know that the BCS didn’t exist before 1998, but I think you get the point.
Only three times did we not win vs. OSU and MSU. Wow. I should point out that in two of those games, the 5th year senior did not play the whole game. In 1992, Elvis Grbac got injured in the first half with only two pass attempts. In 1999, Tom Brady sat out a little more than a quarter in place of Drew Henson.
Now, let’s take a look at the results the last 30 years when we have had a new starter at quarterback:
|1987||Brown||Loss||Loss||Hall of Fame||Win|
|1993||Collins||Win||Loss||Hall of Fame||Win|
In the last 30 years, we are a combined 9-17 vs. MSU and OSU when we have a new starting quarterback. In those thirteen seasons, we made a BCS game only once, and we lost it (for those of you in Columbus – that means a 0% success rate). 9-17 vs. MSU and OSU, and only one Rose Bowl in thirteen seasons. Wow, that really sucks. 8 of MSU’s 9 victories against us in the last 30 years have come in a year where we had a new starting quarterback. This is a crappy trend that is consistent over all four Michigan coaches in the 30-year period. Please note that I left out 1988 because even though Michael Taylor was technically a new starter, senior Demetrius Brown finished the season with victories in Columbus and Pasadena.
So what does this mean for Devin Gardner? Ideally, Forcier will be a four-year starter, which means that Gardner might take over the team in 2013. If history is any indicator, that means 2013 will be a mediocre year in which we split the two big ones, at best, and have almost no chance at a BCS game. If we have another new starter in 2014, expect the same. On the other hand, if Gardner is playing as a fifth year senior, expect lots of misery for the residents of Columbus and East Lansing and a BCS bowl game.
I think that my opinion on this matter is clear. Devin Gardner needs to take a redshirt, if at all possible.
It seems that the common thought here on MGoBlog is that it would be in the team's best interest to redshirt Devin Gardner next season and allow him to take total control of the team in his third or fourth year on campus, as a RS Sophomore or Junior.
While I actually agree with that line of thought, it's not happening.
I'm a pretty big fan of Rich Rod's. I see the direction that he's taking this team and I like it. I realize it will take time, and I am more than willing to give him that time. I am not in charge of how much time he has, however. If he doesn't perform soon, more and more fans will be calling for his job, and they just might get their wish if this season results in a 6-6 or 7-5 record.
Gardner is Rodriguez's prototypical quarterback. More skill rushing than Forcier, more skill passing (especially after some coaching this spring) than Robinson. In two or three years, he will be a dominant force in Ann Arbor, but Rodriguez can't wait that long.
This isn't to say he doesn't have the best interest of the team in mind, but he is going to have to have at the very least an eight win season to keep the critics at bay, and even that likely will not be enough.
Nine or ten wins will keep his job secure, and the easiest short-term fix that would give this team the best chance at a ten win season is using Forcier primarily, and using Gardner much like Robinson was used last season. With Gardner in the backfield, however, there will be a little more confusion for opposing defenses. It wont be "Robinson up the gut" play after play. Gardner will be an intimidating player to line up against.
So while it would absolutely be in the teams best interest to redshirt him and maximize his playing time and impact at Michigan, even one more season under eight wins could cost Rodriguez his job, and then three years of Michigan football will have been completely useless as a coach with a more traditional style will be brought in, and there will be even more re-building to find players that fit that scheme.
As long as Gardner isn't a big disappointment at spring practice and can learn a good zone read as well as about 30% of the playbook, Rich Rodriguez has to play him this season. He won't be starting on opening day, and he may not start at all this season, but he'll be in the same role that Robinson was in last season. It has to be done for Rodriguez's job, and for Michigan's immediate future.
As for Denard.. I don't know. Slot? KR/PR?
I'm felt it was worth a post to comment on the great character that our Early Enrollee's all seem to have. Being privy to their interviews through rivals, I have to say that I am very, very impressed with the way they carry themselves. It is nice to see spotlight (teenage) football players actually be humble for once. Just another reason why UofM football is the best!
Curious on anyone else's reactions to this topic or any other reactions towards our EEs?
FWIW Sporting News just unveiled their final top 100 guys for the 2010 class
Recruits of Note:
We actually have 3 top 100 guys already according to Sporting News. I found it interesting that SN is still high on Miller unlike Rivals/Scout/ESPN.
I saw this really cool picture of devin gardner on facebook here is the link....
Just thought i would share his last step on a field in high school. Cheers to 4 years of brilliance at Michigan!
Mod Fix so it's embedded... IN ALL ITS GLORY!!!1!